The holidays are upon us

November 4, 2014 Leave a comment

presentNovember is here, the clocks have been set back, Halloween has come and gone (except for some candy stashed away) and we can skip Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas. At least that is what I saw last night on television. Numerous commercials for big box stores explaining what we all want and need for the upcoming holiday next month.

All those gifts of toys, tools, jewelry, shirts and perfume come in packages. We love to get them but in many cases we dread opening them. Toy packaging should come with headache medicine as many a Christmas Eve has been spent not only assembling these toys but battling twisty ties and such just to get to the toys at hand.

I realize that some of the holiday packaging can be a challenge to open and some that we request or purchase at stores (to package the gifts ourselves) come in thinner material every year but we just have to get along with the spirit of giving and smile as we wrap, open and dispose of the holiday packaging.

So if you have a particular holiday package that sticks in your memory, please share a few lines about it with us here.

Ho, ho, ho.

Learn more at

Categories: Uncategorized

Want vs. Need

October 7, 2014 Leave a comment



How many times have you found yourself staring at something and realizing that you want it? You want it so bad that you can taste it and feel that getting it is the best thing for you.

And suddenly, you realize that it isn’t what you really need. Not that what you need isn’t sexy and appealing – just that what you need is really what you need. Period. And acting on that realization is half the battle.

Acquiring the right packaging needs for your product is key to connecting your brand message to the right audience. It lets them know that you understand what they want and what they need.

Does your packaging company listen to your wants and distill them into what you need thus allowing you to see both sides of the want vs. need equation?

After all, isn’t that what you really want?

To learn more, go to

Categories: Uncategorized

What’s New In Blisters and Clamshells Part 3

October 2, 2014 Leave a comment

Here is the third and final segment of this post and many thanks to my friend Anton Steeman at for letting us push this out to all of you.

140667-ripeness-label03-w1042-100dpiClamshell for fruit with ripeness indicator
Declining global consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables has been concerning health professionals and produce trade leaders for some time. Convenience and taste have been identified as key drivers to encourage increased consumption. The RipeSense label can be expected to change the way shoppers buy fruit by showing the exact level of ripeness without handling or guesswork.

The clamshell pack, moulded to the shape of the pears, was developed to trap the aroma necessary for the ripeSense label to function, while the key reason for developing ripeSense for pears is the difficulty shoppers have determining fruit ripeness.
Pears, unlike apples, need to soften before they achieve their maximum flavour and shoppers often squeeze and damage the fruit as they make their selection. The clamshell protects the pears from crushing and bruising, permitting retailers to sell tender juicy ripe fruit without wastage.

The ripeSense sensor label is world-first technology that enables shoppers to choose fruit that best appeals to their taste. It works by detecting aroma compounds given off the fruit as it ripens, changing the label through a range of colours.
Shoppers can choose to either buy pears that are ready to eat immediately or they can purchase firmer fruit that will be ready for eating in a few days. Further research is proposed to develop sensor labels for summer fruit, kiwifruit, avocado and melons. The new label technology is the result of five years development by HortResearch scientists, funded largely by the New Zealand Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.
It belongs in the section of intelligent packaging that changes colour to indicate the ripeness of fruit. Developed in New Zealand, ripeSense packaging technology is expected to bring significant efficiencies to the fresh fruit industry, reducing wastage and forever eradicating the old selling process of selling loose, usually unripe, fruit into bins, where it is bruised, squeezed and prodded to determine its ripeness.

To learn more, go to

Categories: Uncategorized

What’s New In Blisters and Clamshells Part 2

October 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Today we continue with Part 2.

130537-if-packaging-design-awards-w1042-100dpiLED light bulb packaging
Akihiko Kotani and Mitsutoshi Ohta designers in Tokyo, Japan, created for Panasonic Corporation in Osaka, Japan, a LED light bulb packaging with a paper craft-like structure.
The packaging can just be folded without the need for heat moulding. The packaging simply divides into transparent PET plastic and cardboard, which makes for easy disposal of the separated components. And because there is no printing on the case, there are no impurities such as ink to deal with, which makes recycling easier.

The one-touch pinch-and-pull opening allows the consumer to extract the products easily. The packaging is shaped to fit well in the hand, and checking what is inside through the packaging is easy. Particular consideration has been given to prevent incorrect purchases by enabling customers to touch and check the metal caps.

Lamps are a hot item in terms of clamshells and blister packaging. Besides Panasonic, Brazilian designers also created a workable alternative.

FLC Sustainable fluorescent lamp packaging
Despite its characteristics such as greater energy efficiency and life expectancy in comparison to incandescent lamps, fluorescent lamps contain toxic residues which may contaminate the environment in case of inappropriate discard or accidents regarding its handling and transportation.

PrintFor a college project executed for FLC, a Brazilian fluorescent lamp company, Guilherme Parolin, and Fabrício Vaz, both students at the UFRGS – Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre/Brazil, designed a packaging for a fluorescent lamp.
The FLC sustainable packaging, beyond a mere packaging, proposes a new kind of relationship between the consumer and the fluorescent lamp by facilitating the return of the replaced, old or damaged bulb to its manufacturer and its due recycling.

The package, composed mainly from moulded paper pulp, offers an efficient protection of the new lamp from the point of sale to its place of use, and acts, in its second life, as a protective case for the inoperative lamp, which can therefore be discarded safely in domestic waste or forwarded to a proper waste collection point.

Moulded ribs and latches inside the packaging ensure a correct positioning and fixing of the lamp against possible impacts. The hexagonal shape offers greater stability and better use of space at the point of sale. The sleeve, made from recycled paper provides the relevant information to the consumer in a hierarchical way.

Although the designers claim that its major innovation is the use of moulded paper pulp, in the same way as for egg packaging, to ensure the protection and safety of the lamp, the result is a “blind” packaging. The consumer can’t see the product.
To create a positive visual impact it would be interesting to execute this packaging in a thermoformable recyclable plastic film, which would allow for a consumer-friendly clamshell by its longitudinal opening and the use of the reliefs for a better ergonomic performance.


Stay tuned for the next post to read about an interesting food label.

Learn more at


Categories: Uncategorized

What’s New In Blisters and Clamshells

September 30, 2014 Leave a comment

130567-wrap_rage_example-w1042-100dpiA few issues back I interviewed a number of leaders in the packaging industry and one was Anton Steeman, a packaging engineer based in Brazil. Anton recently posted an article about blisters and clamshells and has allowed me to push it out to our readers. I will post it in 3 parts with the first installment here today. Enjoy.

Already for years you can’t sit quietly around a table during a birthday party with friends, discussing the oh-so simple solutions for the world problems and then telling them you’re a packaging specialist. Within seconds the whole crowd is rolling over you, blaming you for all the shortcomings in the world of packaging and, of course, particularly, with the skin packs, blister packaging and plastic clamshells. Blaming you, that you, personally, make life of the consumer a hell.

All world problems and their simple solutions are forgotten and the birthday party turns around in a court case with the obvious verdict. All companies presenting their products in blisters or clamshells as well as their packaging designers are idiots and packaging technologists aren’t worth their salt.
And I must say they have a point.

I don’t want to discuss the irritating packaging of a Barbie or some other idiotic doll, which is once a year bought as a present and for which all the tools in the household have to be used to finally free the oh-so desired toy from its shackles. No, that situation is of no importance and by the way gives some extra flavour to the birthday party discussions.

No, the irritation with blister and clamshell packaging is in the day-to-day environment. The product the consumer uses and consequently buys almost daily and let him time-after-time fight to open the packaging.

According to pro-consumer group Which? almost 90% of people resort to scissors, more than 60% grab a knife, 4% deploy a razor blade and 2% take to it with a hammer, as far as trying to open moulded plastic packaging is concerned.

Consequently Which? states that consumer purchasing behaviour is influenced by the packaging they’re presented with. Some 20% of people might not buy certain foods if the packaging looks like it might present a challenge, while 75% are adamant that, these days, packaging is unnecessarily hard to open.

Joanna Pearl, a researcher at Which? said: “If you bought a car you’d be furious if it proved difficult to open the door, but the struggle to get into everyday packaged goods is seen as something we must tolerate”.

Moulded plastic ‘clamshell’ packaging as well as blisters are the leading causes of frustration, followed by shrink wrapping and peel-off coverings. And as heat-sealed plastic clamshells are the most hated packaging, we do, consequently, face the well-known advice that they should be avoided by manufacturers at all costs.

And, of course, what do you think the answer of the industry is? Dick Searle, chief executive of the Packaging Federation, the ‘over-arching’ trade association for the UK Packaging Manufacturing Industry, admitted that some clamshell packs were unnecessarily difficult to get into, but said: “If you are opening a food pack, in a kitchen, you are likely to have a pair of scissors to hand”.
As short-sighted as ever!

Fortunately there are some companies, which have a more nuanced approach to the problem. Let’s have a look at the latest progressive developments in blister packaging and clamshells.


More on that in the next post. Stay tuned. Learn more at


Categories: Uncategorized

Haven’t we met before?

September 4, 2014 Leave a comment

3_phonesWhile shopping recently in a big chain retail store I noticed something peculiar. I viewed 3 different prepay phones and saw that the packaging was all very similar. Now the shapes and colors may have varied but the functions were all the same. Whether the product was in a clam or a box they all allowed you to see the product and they incorporated a flap that when opened, showed more information regarding rates and pricing.

I can understand that consumers want to get as much information about these products before purchasing and the carriers want to gain an ever increasing market share to lead the pack. I did feel a bit of disappointment since the packaging was all so similar. The other constant I found was that the “flaps of information” had a tendency to bend and tear after consumers opened and closed them a few times. This defeats sales as consumers don’t buy the damaged looking package (even though the product is fine). The packaging also is designed to work harder at preventing theft and most of these phone packages are now locked on the rack making the experience less joyful.

I have a hard time wanting to buy a product when the packaging looks so similar to all the competitors package. It gives me the impression that the product is no different than the next one. Most likely this is the case and price is what makes the difference.

So what was a valued shopping experience a few years ago has now turned into just another task and another commodity we buy as needed. Seems a shame but that’s progress.

Categories: Uncategorized

Pass me the cereal please

July 21, 2014 Leave a comment

cereal1For at least the past 50 years breakfast cereal has come in boxes similar to the ones at left. They have been colorful and work to attract target consumers (most of them being children). On the boxes were games and information that helped to hold one’s interest while consuming the product and desiring more. As a child I went through my share of Frosted Flakes, Cheerios, Post Toasties and the rest. Some time I was interested in a prize that was in the box or a story or puzzle that was on the back side. Other times I focused on the flavor of the cereal. Any sugar frosted flavor was popular for quite some time. Relating to characters such as Tony the Tiger or Toucan Sam was always a tough choice and Captain Crunch fought for space on my breakfast table with the best of them. So if you haven’t realized by now, the packaging played a major role in the purchase of cereal in our home. I also recall that the lure of some of these cereal packages was so strong that we bought certain brands at times without really eating much of the product.FBP0713_Materials-QA_InBody

After time the boxes changed and some have converted into pouch form. I have tried healthier brands of cereal and even some that now come in pouch form. And I do look at the packaging to see what it offers. Zipper locks and messages about health are more front and center. Flavor does play a role in my cereal purchase but I don’t find the strong pull to the ones of my childhood and I don’t crave for any “comfort” cereal bringing back memories of days gone by. It is interesting to see how much of a role this product has played in our lives.


alien1This last picture is from the first “Alien” movie. Although this was a pivotal scene in the movie, I placed it in this post to note the packaging for the cereal. If you look closely, you will see the cereal on the table comes in plastic containers with no advertising or brand recognition. Everything in the picture appears sterile and boring. I can’t imagine space travel being exciting at all if you can’t even get an interesting box of cereal to enjoy.

At CTI, we manage packaging in many forms including cereal. Check us out at

Categories: Uncategorized